6 Tips To Help Project Managers Be More Effective
Too often, project managers and project teams are working on projects that are not adding value to the organization. These projects do not support the development, enhancement, or replacement of existing technology, while using time, budget, and resources that could be used more effectively elsewhere.
Here are 10 tips on how to take your project management to the next level.
Tip #1 - Ask "Why?"
Take a cue from Six Sigma and ask for the reasons behind a project. Not only will this help you understand the requirements and the direction, but it will help weed out if this project is actually necessary.
Tip #2 - Get People Ready
You cannot change things unless people are ready for change. So, when you are preparing for a project, be sure to communicate the why, how, and what of the project. Include people who are necessary while making sure not to bloat the meetings with too many people. Ask for input and feedback before project kickoff.
"Walk out of a meeting or drop off a call as soon as it is obvious you aren't adding value. It is not rude to leave, it is rude to make someone stay and waste their time." – Elon Musk
Tip #3 - Understand How To Run A Project
The last thing you need on a project is an over-qualified and over-certified person. Yes, qualifications and certifications can indicate expertise, but they do not guarantee it. Being familiar with the Project Management Institute (PMI), Scrum.org, and other organizations may be helpful, but be sure to understand the basic components of running a project: scope, schedule, budget.
Tip #4 - Recognize Performance
Your team needs to know how they are doing, both the good and the bad. When people do well, tell them and acknowledge them. When people don't do well, communicate their shortcomings, your expectations, and chart a clear path forward.
Tip #5 - Be Consistent
Do not kill your team with templates, procedures, meetings notes, or any of that stuff. Good organization is important but too much can be just as bad as being messy. Have standardized templates that are consistent, simple to use, and easy to understand.
Tip #6 - Manage Risk
Have the courage and brains to ask the hard questions. It's better to find out what's going wrong before it blows up and gets worse. Ask things like, "what am I missing here?", "what's not going well?", or "is there anything in the future that could throw this off?".
You Can Do It
Keep it simple, keep it moving forward, and keep it humble. By implementing these 6 tips, you can help to mitigate problems and become a more effective project manager.
Greg Hansen is the CEO of Hans and Company, a software consulting company that builds, integrates, and tests software for companies around the world. He is a recognized mentor for fast-growing technology businesses and has led innovations in public investment companies, venture capital, and growth marketing. You can find him on LinkedIn here.